Editor's Note : If you have followed the Times of Amma for a while, you know that I love inspiring parenting journeys. I was led to Anjaji's story by her friend Bindu (founder of Ela). Anjali Mangalgiri is the founder and principal architect at Grounded, an award-winning architecture firm with offices in Singapore and Goa. As an alumni of Delhi’s School of Planning and Architecture and with a Double Masters under her belt from MIT and Columbia University, Anjali’s work in the area of sustainable architecture brings together global insights and best practices with the very best of local materials, modern engineering, and expert craftsmanship. Anjali currently lives in Singapore with her family, while her team works out of Goa, India.
This particular piece was written before most of the world went into lockdown. But it has still not lost its poignancy or relevance to any mother of young kids who is also small business owner.
Here is Anjali in her own words.
We have been MIA for a while, because I gave birth to my second daughter on January 3rd. I am determined to treat myself with more love and kindness this time around.
In 2016, when my first daughter was born. I returned to work 15 days post delivery. I had a much smaller team and I was more hungry (work wise) at that time. This was tough, even though I thought I could pull it off. But among other things, I regret not being ‘present’ for my daughter’s baby years and not being able to breastfeed beyond 4 months.
Even though my older daughter is perfect and we are perfect together, I now know that I deserve a pause where the focus must be on my own wellness and my family. Motherhood and work are not easy to balance. A month post delivery, here is how I feel, I have day and night long headaches, I feel dizzy at times and have blurred vision. It is also routine for me to wake up 4-5 times each night to feed and soothe my baby. I understand that all this is part of the recovery and part of what it takes to raise an infant but belittling my condition would be a mistake.
In most parts of the world, the maternity leave offered is 3 months, so does that mean that after 3 months I will miraculously be 100% back to normal, and know exactly how to balance it all. Or do I have to pretend and fight to do it all, where work and children obviously take priority and the victim will be myself, my health, my well-being, peace of mind, and the rest of it. As an entrepreneur running my own business, I actually do not have the liberty to take a clear 3 months off too. How can I do that when there are on-going projects, and overheads to bear. Where are the solutions for women entreprenuers to balance motherhood and work?
How should we ‘do it all’? What are the right items to prioritize? A man would say that millions of women give birth and they all figure it out. But guess what, they don’t, we all suffer, and most suffer silently. Most do what the world demands and give up their work, others try to do it all and sacrifice so much in the process.
Why are we expected to always be superwomen, even when we already did that
by creating life from scratch? I know women who have pumped and dumped on
planes, pumped in cars at construction sites, and in toilets, and I know that each
of these women has cried doing it.
Now going back to my plan for a pause, I have no clue the form this will take.
Even with my long vent above, I am terrifying at stopping all together. I can’t, I simply can’t do that. But then how do I slow down, how does one sustain a team, and how does one turn down potential opportunities that fall into your lap....
Thank you, Anjali for your raw and honest words. This is certain to resonate with parents all over the world.
However, your will to find solutions and power onward will certainly inspire other parents who are on similar journeys. For more from inspiring mothers like Kavita, follow the Times of Amma on Instagram and Facebook.